A 90-year-old woman made an astonishing discovery at the National World War II museum recently: searching for a display that she thought might mention her high school sweetheart she instead found his diary, containing a note asking whoever found the book to give it to her.
“I figured I’d see pictures of him and the fellows he’d served with and articles about where he served,” Laura Mae Davis Burlingame told The Associated Press.
Instead, she ran face-to-face with Cpl. Thomas “Cotton” Jones’s handwriting, and the original telegraph informing his parents that he was killed by enemy fire.
In his last entry, Jones describes winning money gambling and suggests that he would like to wire it to Laura for Christmas. There were also numerous entries about how he wished he’d married her before leaving for the war, and a note asking that the diary be turned over to Laura if it were lost.
Nearly 70 years since Jones was killed by an enemy sniper, Laura was stunned to see the 22-year-old’s diary in the case before her.
When she told museum staff that she and Jones were both graduates of the class of 1941 and dated in high school, they opened the book up to look inside, making their astonishing discovery.
A curator told The Associated Press that it is the first time in 17 years that a visitor to the museum has discovered themselves mentioned in one of the exhibits.
This video is from The Associated Press, published Monday, May 27, 2013.
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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